First minister's questions

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Alex Salmond defended the level of funding his government had allocated to mitigate the so-called "bedroom tax", on 26 September 2013.

In the draft budget Finance Secretary John Swinney announced that £20m would be spent this year to support those struggling with UK-wide housing benefit changes, dubbed the "bedroom tax" by critics.

Mr Swinney also said £68m would be invested in each of the next two years to "limit the damage of Westminster's welfare cuts".

However he did not allocate further funds to tackle the impact of the "bedroom tax" next year.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said the lack of further funding was "another justification for separation rather than a policy that should be tackled".

Ms Lamont said the first minister "does not care about the victims of the bedroom tax and he would rather exploit their pain".

Mr Salmond hit back saying the finance secretary had already helped the victims of the "bedroom tax" and said Shelter Scotland had been delighted with the £20m allocated.

The first minister also questioned why Ms Lamont had waited to raise the issue of the "bedroom tax" until after Ed Miliband announced he would repeal it at Labour's conference, when Nicola Sturgeon had announced the same action six months ago.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson challenged the first minister over the SNP's pension policy saying he had "pockled the figures".

Mr Salmond retorted that the Conservative party were guilty of persistent "scaremongering" over pensions.

Scottis Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged Alex Salmond to end the "environmental injustice and economic madness" of government-subsided opencast mining amid rising restoration costs and falling coal prices.

But Mr Salmond urged him to "look these workers in the eye and tell them that they shouldn't have jobs".

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